Sylvan Lake checking health services demand

Sylvan Lake is hoping to use its census to help build its case for an urgent care centre. Residents will be asked in this April’s head count whether they have ever required health services between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. over the past year.

Sylvan Lake is hoping to use its census to help build its case for an urgent care centre.

Residents will be asked in this April’s head count whether they have ever required health services between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. over the past year.

If the answer is yes, a follow-up questions asks where they went: a local clinic, Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, other area hospital, or chose not to attend a facility.

Mayor Susan Samson expects the question will provide some hard data on the need for better medical services in the area, which is home to 18,000 people, including 12,000 in Sylvan Lake.

“I don’t believe Alberta Health Services Central Zone understands or has the stats to realize how many people are impacted by a lack of an urgent care centre for Sylvan Lake and area,” said Samson. Some statistics have been gathered about the use of Red Deer’s hospital by Sylvan Lake residents.

“But not everybody goes to Red Deer Regional (hospital),” she said. Some go to Innisfail, Lacombe or Bentley or use Sylvan’s on-call doctor service.

Samson said she will be interested to see how many people opted not to seek care because of the lack of a local facility.

One of the fears is that under the current situation the elderly or families with young children hesitate to seek help elsewhere when a medical issue arises.

An Urgent Care Committee has been formed with local representatives, including doctors, which is campaigning for a facility that’s open seven days a week with extended hours, offers laboratory and X-ray services, and offers non-life-threatening medical care.

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